For most of its existence, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) was led and controlled by a secret vanguard party within its ranks—the Eritrea People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). This article explores the origins of the party and its impact on the liberation struggle for nearly two decades. Questions I address include: How, why and by whom was the party formed? How did it function in relation to the Front as a whole? How did this change from the 1970s to the 1980s? And why was the decision taken to disband the party in 1989? In doing so, the paper sheds light on how this movement has operated since through an inner circle nested in the visible institutions of government.